Welcome to the North Dakota Rare Bird Alert compiled by the North Dakota Birding Society. This report was prepared on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.
Bob O'Connor of Fargo. email@example.com: I saw a very buffy breeding plumaged Cattle Egret this afternoon, April 29, with the Herring, ring-billed, California, and Franklin's gulls during the gull gathering across from the Fargo Dump.
We were so surprised to see a Lazuli Bunting in our backyard feeder late this afternoon, May 1. We took some pictures and asked Dean Riemer to verify the identification. He passed it to Ron Martin, who did verify it as a Lazuli Bunting. What a beautiful bird!
We had a Brown Thrasher at the front yard feeders this afternoon, April 29, and it was battling with the Blackbirds and Robins. They are apparently not good buddies. We also have very big numbers of White-Throated Sparrows, a few Lincoln Sparrows thrown into the mix.
We got home from work at about 5:15 on May 3 and saw the Lazuli Bunting on the same feeder that we first saw him on last Friday. He must like the food! He was here for a few minutes, then left. We watched for him on Saturday and Sunday, but had no luck. It was pretty cool to see him back again.
Dennis Wiesenborn. firstname.lastname@example.org: Filed 4/29. A single clay-colored sparrow was singing at Pioneer Park (across the river to the north of Oak Grove Park). Pioneer Park also hosted a solitary sandpiper and singing sedge wren.
A winter wren was exploring the multitudinous piles of driftwood across from Mickelson Park, and a number of savannah sparrows were singing from the field.
Numerous yellow-rumped warblers were passing overhead, as well as a couple broad-winged hawks. White-throated & chipping sparrows were in full song at many locations in North Fargo-Moorhead.
Keith Corliss of West Fargo. email@example.com: To dovetail on others' posts, a quick peek at the backyard this PM, April 29, produced about 15 white-throated sparrows and singles of both Lincoln's and clay-colored. Still no Harris's yet. But a few hours of daylight (if that's what you call it in the middle of all this rain) remain.
Connie Norheim 701-232-4386: Nothing new in the West Fargo parks this morning, May 2, too windy: Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and lots of White-throated Sparrows. So I headed to the part of the Sheyenne Diversion that parallels the West Fargo Sewage Lagoons and found one Spotted Sandpiper walking along the muddy edge, and Cliff Swallows fighting the wind over the shallow overflow ponds on the south side of the road.
A drive through Harwood Slough: a female Red-breasted Merganser in the south end by County 20, and an Osprey flying over the north end.
FOY Brown Thrasher in my yard this afternoon, May 2, in north Fargo.
Rick Holbrook of Fargo. firstname.lastname@example.org: Filed on April 29. There are 4 White-throated Sparrows and a Harris's Sparrow under the feeders. I do not know if there 4 WTSP are the ones that were here all winter or are simply migrants.
Carol Arzt of Harwood. email@example.com: In the rain this afternoon, April 29, at my backyard feeder was my FOS Harris sparrow.
Had four wild turkeys at my backyard feeders this morning, May 1. They were so close I could see the sheen on their feathers.
Mark Otnes 701-241-4194: I spent most of yesterday, April 30, checking out some northeast South Dakota areas, and on the way back I picked up some first of the year birds in Sargent and Richland Counties:
Field Sparrow - 8
Loggerhead Shrike – 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow – 3
Lark Sparrow – 3
Bank Swallow – 6
Barn Swallow – 3
Cliff Swallow – 8
Willet – 1
Brewer’s Blackbird – 12
Jean Legge, 701-845-4762: On April 3 i Barnes County: In my yard tonight was a singing male Lark Sparrow. A pair nested here last summer. I hope they will do so again. Franklin's gulls are now seen in several locations in the county. An unusual feeding activity of while pelicans - I saw a pair of pelicans in a wet meadow (flooded pasture)- shallow water, grasses growing, pelicans flopping in water and grabbing something from the water and swallowing it. Nearby another group of pelicans (23) on the edge of Hobart along Hwy 10 - crammed together at the north edge of the slough in the cattails feeding on something plentiful in the shallow water in cattails.
On April 29 in Barnes County: After work today, I spotted an eastern towhee eating corn and sunflower seeds at the feeder in my yard northwest of Valley City. (1st for me) Lincoln sparrows - many (over 10) FOS. 3 Harris sparrows FOS. Birds are pretty spooky, a sharp-shinned hawk flew through.
On April 29 in Barnes County: Profusion of bird song this am. After yesterday's onslaught of wind, the trees and bushes and ground are full of birds this morning, so many singing it is like a summer morning.
Myrtle's yellow-rumped warblers-at least 30, FOS
white-throated sparrows whistling all over- at least 30
another warbler flitting in branches I couldn't see. Not enough light in the cloudy morning and I had to leave for work so couldn't pursue it longer.
Randy Joe Toppen 701-845-0483: One nighthawk witnessed in Valley City, 9:15 PM, Thursday, April 29, 2010 East of Charlie Brown Field, along 5th Avenue NE, in Valley City.
Larry Igl 701-253-5511: New Birds from Stutsman County and Surrounding Areas:
Wilson's Phalarope: Steve Lane reported Wilson's Phalaropes near Wimbledon (Barnes County) on April 28.
American Golden-Plover: Steve Lane reported a flock of American Golden-Plovers near Wimbledon (Barnes County) on April 28.
Barn Swallow: Hal Kantrud reported his first Barn Swallows for the spring season on April 30 near Ypsilanti.
Brown Thrasher: Betty Euliss had a male Brown Thrasher singing near Pipestem Reservoir on April 25 April.
Clay-colored Sparrow: Hal Kantrud reported Clay-colored Sparrows near Ypsilanti on April 29.
Harris' Sparrow: Hal Kantrud reported Harris' Sparrows near Ypsilanti on April 29.
White-crowned Sparrow: Larry Igl reported six White-crowned Sparrows in a mixed flock of Harris', White-crowned, and White-throated sparrows on April 30 near Hillcrest Golf Course in east Jamestown.
Sister Pamela Pranke of Spiritwood Lake near Jamestown 701-320-2779: Both Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, I saw one Caspian Tern feeding on the north end of Alkali Lake at the corner of Spiritwood Lake Road and East Lake County Road.
Clark Talkington firstname.lastname@example.org: On Monday, April 26th, I birded Kidder county on my way to Ashley. Some of the sightings were my earliest for the Bismarck/Mandan area.
1 Snowy Egret - Dewald Slough
1 Piping Plover - pond east of Lake Etta
1 Upland Sandpiper
3 Forster's Tern
2 Purple Martin - Lake Isabel
200 Band Swallow - Dewald Slough
And in Mandan
2 Northern Rough-winged Swallows (Refinery)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch (Memorial Cemetery)
1 White-winged Crowssbill (Cem.)
I also had an unusual sighting in McIntosh County where I was checking a Great Horned Owl nest that had previously nested in a Double-crested Cormorant nest. The week before there was no sign of young birds. As I drove up to the nest, I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron sitting on the nest. ¯I noticed a yellow substance on the bill of the heron and wondered was it the egg or the young birds. hen the night heron saw my car, it crouched down in the nest, even though half of its body was still showing. The nest being in a cormorant rookery, many cormorants were sitting on nests not paying any attention to the night heron or my car.
Peder Stenslie of Mandan, email@example.com: In my yard today, we had our first Clay-colored Sparrow. Also our first Barn Swallow.
Took a drive around south of Mandan and saw, among other things,...
Great Horned Owl
Hooded Merganser pair
Cliff Swallows (first I've seen this year)
Janelle Masters of Mandan, firstname.lastname@example.org: This morning, May 3, I was happy to see a spotted towhee scratching around my yard with field sparrows singing in the distance. Yesterday, two Swainsons Hawks were being very protective of their grove of trees. One was a dark morph and the other the “standard” variety, but their screams were identical.
Rod Fossen, email@example.com: Started bird watching Oak Park at 7:02 this morning, May 1, didn’t see many people but I did see some birds including:
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 20
Black and White Warbler. – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler -3
Least Flycatcher – 3
Also saw a number of warblers I couldn’t identify, maybe more Orange-crowned.
There were three Cattle Egrets along Highway 2 just west of Devils Lake this morning, April 29, a new bird for me. In the afternoon near Crary, I saw a Swainson’s Hawk perched on a utility wire, it was still there 30 minutes later. I don’t see birds this large on wires very often.
Tonight, April 27, at 7:30 I watched a pair of Merlins exhibiting mating type behavior in a tree in front of Old Main on the MSU campus. I imagine that they have a nest somewhere in the area.
Charles J. Taft, 701-852-1981: Got a call this evening, April 30, from Terry Narum in far southwest Minot, that a partial albino American Robin is probably nesting somewhere near his place. He sees the bird in the morning, about 8 or so, for a short period of time. He thinks its nesting in a neighbors tree to the north or northwest of his house. His address is 5101 14th Street Southwest. Drive south from the YMCA about 3/4 mile to the housing area.
Ron Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org: Corey Ellingson and I birded northeast North Dakota on Friday, April 30, and Mountrail County for a half day on Saturday. Friday: Clark's Grebe - 1 in Towner Co., FOY. Broad-winged Hawk - 1 dark-morph in Lakota. Upland Sandpiper - FOY, Rugby. Swainson's Thrush - 1 in Cavalier County, FOY. Palm Warbler - 1 in Nelson County, FOY. N. Waterthrush - 2 in Cavalier County, FOY. E. Towhee - 1 in Cavalier County, FOY. White-th. Sparrow - 500 total for the day. White-winged Crossbill - 9 in Rugby, 1 in Ramsey County, 3 in Nelson County. Saturday: WESTERN SANDPIPER - 1 in Mountrail County
Dave Lambeth, email@example.com: Chris Merkord and I toured Nelson County today , April 29, as far west as Lakota and the east end of Stump Lake. Lots of water out there, and not just in the Stump Lake/Devils Lake basin. So we saw numerous water-associated birds. Some of the more notable species where FOS refers to first of season for me include:
FOS Eared Grebe (all expected species of grebe seen except Clark's)
FOS Black-crowned Night-Heron
2 Rough-legged Hawks including a dark phase
FOS Virginia Rail (several)
FOS American Golden-Plover (8)
FOS Solitary Sandpiper
FOS Long-billed Dowitcher
FOS Bank Swallow
FOS Cliff Swallow
FOS Barn Swallow
FOS House Wren
FOS Le Conte's Sparrow
1 White-winged Crossbill in Lakota Cemetery
Many White-throated Sparrows, obviously a big flight into North Dakota last night.
Here at my home in Grand Forks, FOS White-crowned Sparrow, and at least 35 White-throated Sparrows.
Tom Ibsen of Sully's Hill National Game Preserve, 701-766-4272, extension 428: After a dreary and unproductive start at 7:00 AM, Mike Jacobs, 7 others, and I picked up 24 birds during a one-hour walk near the visitor center on Saturday, May 1.
Yellow-rumped warbler FOS
Song sparrow FOS
Clay-colored sparrow FOS
American white pelican FOS
18 total song bird species were observed later in the afternoon during a half hour survey from the window of the visitor center.
Bernice Houser of rural of New Town, firstname.lastname@example.org: Filed on May 3. Aside from the ducks and geese and shorebirds in the area, I have not noticed any 'migration', around my yard, at least--certainly nothing like you lucky people in the east! We have had a few Red-winged Blackbirds, a few Brown-headed Cowbirds, a couple of Common Grackles, a couple of Mourning Doves, quite a few American Robins (but I don't know how many are actually 'migrants'), and one day we had 3 (Three!) White-crowned Sparrows, and yesterday, 2 bright American Goldfinches--that's it!! Until today--one lonely, but very handsome, Chipping Sparrow sat at the feeder for a while. It is not really late yet, but the later it gets, the shorter the time they spend here. So we are still hoping for some excitement. I almost didn't mention our newest 'bird' -- one Wild Turkey hen has been hanging around the yard for a couple of weeks. Now--they are extremely rare in our yard, so it is kind of fun watching her. However, I hope she doesn't bring her relatives! And also--the Turkey Vultures are back, in force! They have been sailing through the yard (through--not flying above!) every now and then--they look really large just a few feet away from your window! We have seen as many as 13 at once (not all in the yard).
That concludes this report from the N.D. Birding Society.